OEM components - two ends of the spectrum
By Chris Sleight07 December 2012
It has long been the case that engine manufacturers have had to cope with different emissions regulations around the world, pushing them to build a range of engines in any given size and power band to meet the various requirements. This year has seen that process take a further step with some notable cases of engines not only being manufactured in emerging markets, far away from the parent plant’s headquarters, but also designed and engineered in the region too.
Perkins, for example, used last month’s Bauma China exhibition to unveil the first designs for a new, off-highway diesel engine that will be manufactured at its factory in Wuxi, China and supplied to
Tier 3 markets around the world.
The company worked together with local manufacturer Bosch Weifu to design a new fuel system for the 89 kW to 205 kW electronically-controlled 1106D-E70TA engine.
Perkins product marketing manager Simon Gray said, “It’s is very hard to keep control of fuel quality outside of the regulated US, European and Japanese markets. We developed a filtration system that could cope with fuel that had water, dust and dirt present. The fuel system on the 1106D-E70TA is very tolerant and robust – it lubricates itself with oil, for instance, so as not to rely on the local diesel for lubrication.”
Mr Gray said the engine was developed to meet the future needs of developing markets. “By 2016, we expect Brazil, China and India to have adopted Tier 3 emissions regulations,” he said. “The 1106D-E70TA is ready for this change – the first pilot engines are in production, and we expect to go to full production in the third quarter of 2013.”
The 1106C is the first engine that the company has developed and produced in China. “Moving production of this six-cylinder type engine away from the UK keeps us competitive in the market place, but we are ensuring that quality is exactly the same – very high,” said Mr Gray.
But this trend to produce components honed to the specific needs of a particular market is something that is spreading beyond just the engine sector. Indeed, this was the rationale behind the signing of a second joint venture agreement between Liugong and ZF earlier in the year.
The two companies set up their first joint venture in 1995 in order to produce axles solely for Liugong’s use. However, this second 30,000 unit per year concern will supply Liugong as well as other Chinese Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), working out of the existing Liugong-ZF joint venture factory in the southern city of Liuzhou.
“Our cooperation with Liugong strongly shows the ‘design to market’ strategy which has been consistently followed by ZF, especially in the field of off-highway systems. Together with our partner Liugong, we have developed a product which exactly matches the requirements of the Chinese market,” said ZF Board member Wilhelm Rehm.
According to ZF, a team of Liugong and ZF engineers have been working since October 2011 to update the design of the existing axles the current joint venture produces. This has led to the development of a modular design allowing dry disc brake (Basic Line) and wet multi-disc (High Line) versions to be produced from a large number of common parts. The company said the use of common parts will reduce production costs.
Also in Liuzhou, GKN Wheels has invested UK£ 3 million (US$ 5 million) in a centre of excellence for mining wheels, which includes a state of the art cold forming line. It will produce wheels up to 63 in. (1600 mm) in diameter for mining and construction equipment, harbour cranes and lift trucks.
Allan Wang, commercial director of GKN Wheels Liuzhou, said, “The mining industry globally is growing rapidly and we are dedicated to providing our customers with the quality and quantity of wheels required, as well as acting as a technical support service. As the industry grows, our customers in the construction, mining and harbour crane equipment markets will have varying requirements and this investment allows us to act as a local provider with a global support system.”
Dana meanwhile has taken the wraps off a new range of transmissions designed for construction and off-highway OEMs in China. The new Spicer Rui Ma line consists of three initial models, with more planned for the coming months.
The first products are the Spicer TZL16 RM powershift transmission for 5 to 6 tonne loaders, the T08 RM transmission for 6 to 10 tonne fork lift trucks, and the T39 RM tridem drive axle for 5 and 6 axle chassis concrete pump trucks and other heavy-duty applications.
Developed and produced at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China, Dana said the next models it would be introducing would be targeted at the construction, mining, and material-handling industries.
Paolo Negri, global platform lead for Dana Italy’s off-highway product group, said the Spicer Rui Ma products featured less automation than the transmissions Dana sells in Europe.
“They are not fully automatic shifting transmissions, so there is some manual selection. The idea is to target customers in China that want to export their machines internationally,” Mr Negri said.
The company has 17,000 m2 dedicated to manufacturing in its existing space in Wuxi, and will add another 3,100 m2 when the Dana China Technical Center opens early next year. Currently, Dana can operate three shifts a day to produce up to 15,000 powershift transmissions and 7,200 mining axles per year.
Similarly, Comer Industries used Bauma China to take the wraps off several new drives, designed to meet the specific requirements of the Chinese market. The PG 701 PS driver is an orbit motor for conveyors and augers on pavers, which is designed to be coupled to the hydraulic motors that are used extensively on Chinese equipment. Comer says the unit is designed to be simple, robust and cheap to run, while being able to withstand the peaks in thrust that result from different materials within the mix.
At the other end of the technology spectrum, Dana has announced a strategic relationship with Allison Transmission and Fallbrook Technologies to develop and manufacture high-efficiency transmissions for off-highway equipment, among other machine types. The aim is to increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve overall vehicle performance.
Under the agreement Fallbrook’s NuVinci CVP technology, which enables designers to reduce the complexity of transmissions, superchargers, and other powertrain systems and allows the engine to operate at more efficient speeds, will be licensed to Allison and Dana.
Fallbrook’s NuVinci CVP technology is a continuously variable transmission which the company says is scalable and highly adaptable. Fallbrook says its technology is less complex, scales and packages more easily, costs less to manufacture, and helps improve performance better than other transmission technologies.
Another key trend in the industry is in the area of in-cab displays and safety systems. With modern construction machines featuring numerous on-board electronic controls and systems, there is demand for monitors that display information clearly and succinctly to the operator.
New from Sauer Danfoss is the DP600LX series of mobile machine displays, which is compatible with the company’s Plus+1 range of components. These colour and monochrome displays feature a more powerful processor, new operating systems and what Sauer Danfoss describes as improved ‘viewability’.
The units feature high-resolution, transflective thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal displays with eight soft keys and six buttons for navigation. Each display is user-programmable while the new processor is five to ten times faster than its predecessor, allowing for a higher resolution display.
But one of the biggest current challenges in the equipment industry is the design work surrounding the forthcoming Tier 4 Final (US) and Stage IV (Europe) engine regulations, which start to take effect from 2014.
In order to meet the stringent emissions regulations, many engines will feature a range of exhaust after treatment systems, including Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOC), Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), all of which add bulk and complexity to already crowded engine compartments.
JCB has been notable in the current round of Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim legislation to have achieved the emissions requirements without any of these aftertreatment systems. It was this achievement that helped the company win a UK£ 3 million (US$ 5 million) per year deal earlier this year to supply its 4.4 litre 55 kW Ecomax engine to street cleaning equipment manufacturer, Johnson Sweepers.
Graham Howlett, Johnston Sweepers’ UK Sales Manager, said, “With the advanced technology of the latest JCB Tier 4 compliant engine at the heart of the new sweeper range, we are maximising performance, payload, fuel consumption and water conservation and producing the most cost effective and practical city sweeper on the market.”
JCB says one of the major benefits is on fuel consumption and the Ecomax engine achieves savings of up to 10% compared to its Tier 3 counterpart. In addition, there is a huge maintenance and service benefit with the Ecomax as it runs on standard engine oils, with no additional service requirements.
Similarly, Bobcat has announced that some of its Tier 4 compact machines will feature non-DPF engines. Developed in collaboration with its parent company, Doosan and engine design specialists, Ricardo, FEV and others, the various partners in the venture claim more than 200 years of experience in the engine and compact equipment sectors.
Bobcat president Rich Goldsbury said, “Bobcat will be a market leader in non-DPF Tier 4 technology. Our customers and dealers prefer it, and it minimises long-term Tier 4 parts and maintenance expenses.”
Meanwhile, the approach taken by Perkins to forthcoming emissions laws has been to set up Technology Integration Workshops (TIW) to collaborate with OEMs. The concept is to work side-by-side in a purpose-built facility that encourages swift and effective resolution of many of the challenges faced by OEMs when trying to integrate engines into their machines.
Started in 2008 the TIW programme was set up to help OEMs tackle the many technology and engineering issues arising at that time from the EU Stage IIIB / US EPA Tier 4 Interim emission standards. Since then more than 500 engine/machine installations have been completed for over 150 OEM customers.
A typical agenda for a programme would include legislation, a product overview, emissions technology, aftertreament, engine architecture and performance, and a virtual installation.
In advance of the TIW, applications engineers use a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the application to create an engine design specification. At the TIW itself OEMs have the opportunity to further discuss the technologies used to optimise the engine’s performance and enable the creation of a virtual installation.
Where appropriate, a prototype engine for installation in the customer’s machine can then be built. If necessary, the applications team can make a site visit to resolve any issues arising after installation. So before a single full production part has been assembled, the customer has a proven, optimum engine solution for their needs.
TIW leader Nick Stephenson said, “For many OEMs, packaging new emissions technologies involves high levels of engineering resource, significant amounts of development time and increased risk. Our TIW allows them to share our resource, reduce the time needed to work up final designs, thereby mitigating the risks associated with engine/machine integration.
“In typically two to three days we can achieve together what used to take weeks if not months. We do not rely on file exchanges, telephone discussions or websites. We work with the OEM, side by side, to ensure optimal integration between engine and machine.”
That initiative by Perkins illustrates some of the extremes in the components sector at the moment. On the one hand, production of simple, robust items is being set up in developing countries to better match the requirements of local OEMs and equipment users.
At the other end of the spectrum, legislation in Europe and the US is providing massive challenges that require component suppliers
and OEMs to come together and hammer out